Where in the world is the next NDSC Convention?
Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas: July 12-15, 2018!
“Dallas is a city with many sides.” That’s what makes it such a great place to visit. From shopping and sports to arts, culture and southwestern cuisine, there’s something in Dallas for everyone. Big things happen in Dallas, so plan on joining us for our 46th Annual Convention in the heart of Texas.
What’s the NDSC Annual Convention all about?
Each year, thousands of people from across the globe attend the NDSC Annual Convention. For most, it’s to hear the latest information from world-renowned experts. For others, it’s a great vacation. However, for nearly all, there’s the one-of-a-kind NDSC “giant family reunion” feeling that permeates the convention weekend.
- PARENTS learn from the best, as internationally known experts come to Sacramento to share their knowledge across the life span of individuals with DS.
- SELF ADVOCATES join together with over 300 friends from across the world to learn, share, become empowered and have an amazing time!
- SIBLINGS share and learn alongside peers, from each other, as well as from professionals.
- VOLUNTEERS have the experience of a lifetime by volunteering in an number of capacities available.
Convention registration and the hotel block will open in Monday, April 16, 2018.
- General Convention Program
- The General Convention is designed for parents, family members, caregivers and professionals. It kicks off Thursday evening with a series of informal gatherings at our Connection Reception, that allow those impacted by Down syndrome to meet peers and share joys, concerns and strategies with others that share common issues and interests. On Friday evening, a plenary session officially launches the weekend’s events. The Plenary session features inspirational Keynote Presentations by self-advocates and advocates in the Down syndrome community who present on topics of broad interest. The General Convention also consists of six Workshop Cycles. Each cycle offers a selection of 90-minute workshops that registrants attended based on their interest. These interactive workshops are presented by the experts – from those who pioneer in early childhood communication, to those who redefine the K-12 classroom and those on the frontier of adult challenges.
The NDSC cares deeply about serving the needs of all families, including those with loved ones with co-occurring autism, autism-like behaviors, or complex needs. In collaboration with the DS-Autism Connections, the NDSC offers the DS-ASD Track, a specifically-designed workshops track to meet the needs of these families. Experts in the field of DS-ASD present on important issues and are available to answer questions and provide much-needed support.
The role of a brother or sister changes dramatically as parents age. The Adult Sibling Track of workshops is designed to give adult siblings the tools they will need to support their sibling. Packed with experts in financial planning, adult transition, employment and mental health, coupled with a few networking opportunities, adult sibs leave feeling prepared, supported and empowered.
An entertaining component of the General Convention is the Film Festival. Taking place during the workshop cycles, the Film Festival is an attendee’s opportunity to view the best films, film clips and documentaries featuring individuals with Down syndrome.
- Workshops and Special Tracks
The General Convention is designed to educate parents, family members and caregivers, as well as medical and educational professionals. General Convention programming includes more than seventy breakout workshops throughout the weekend. With up to thirteen 90-minute workshops available during each cycle, you’ll be able to choose the session that’s right for you. To guide you in making selections, a complete workshop list is available below and will be included in the convention program, the Souvenir Journal, that you’ll receive when you arrive on site. You will choose as you go – no need to pre-register for these breakout sessions.
Most General Convention workshops will be recorded and made available to general convention attendees shortly after the convention. This is a great way to listen to those sessions you are unable to attend in person. After all, you can only be in one place at a time!
- Social Events, Star Studded Night, and Awards Dinner
Friday – Open Reception and 321 Dance™
Following our Opening Plenary Session Friday, we move into the Opening Reception and the 321 Dance™! It will be an evening filled with energy and excitement. The Opening Reception includes a cash bar and complimentary desserts. Here families from around the globe gather to begin an exciting weekend together. The night also hosts our 321 Dance™ – a celebration of all people with DS in our lives.
Saturday – Star Studded Dinner & Art Auction and Dance
Saturday evening’s events include a Star Studded Night Dinner & Art Auction, live and silent. The dinner is a ticketed event. It is followed by a dance for all. There is no cost or ticket required to attend the dance. All registered attendees are welcome.
Annual Award Winner Dinner
Annually the NDSC recognizes individuals and organizations for outstanding achievement within the Down syndrome community. Recognition of these individuals will take place during the Annual Convention at a private Award Winner Dinner. For more information about the NDSC’s Annual Awards go to Convention History and Awards
- Hall of Stars
As the NDSC Annual Convention heads to Dallas, Texas we will be “Reaching For The Stars”! The focal point of the convention will be the Hall of Stars located in the main walkway leading to the convention center. This exhibit will feature beautifully decorated silver and white stars suspended from above, amidst original art work.
Individuals, families, civic groups, affiliate organizations, and corporations can show their support by purchasing stars in advance. Stars are available in 3 sizes and may be self decorated, self-advocate decorated (at the NDSC office), or may display a name, message or logo printed by the NDSC.
- Small Star, 13″ – $25
- Medium Star, 17″ – $75
- Large Star, 21″ – $150
Each star to be self decorated will be mailed to the purchaser with return instructions. Self decorated stars must be ordered by June 1 and returned to the NDSC office by June 18. Orders for self-advocate and printed stars must be received by June 25, 2018.
You can order your star during Convention registration or by going to Hall of Stars
- Reach for Your Star Art Auction
The NDSC is searching for exceptional art entries for our first Art Exhibit and Auction to be held at the 46th Annual National Down Syndrome Congress Convention in Dallas, Texas. All individual artists and groups are encouraged to participate. Select entries will travel to Dallas to be displayed in the 2018 National Down Syndrome Congress Convention Hall of Stars. Select pieces will be auctioned through either our 2018 Convention Art App or live during Saturday’s Star Studded Night gala.
All artwork will be highlighted on NDSC’s social media pages, with more than 111,000 followers; on our website; and be viewed on the 2018 Convention Art App.
For submission specifications, click here.
For the Reach for Your Star Art registration form, click here.
- Educator Conference
The Center for Educational Excellence Educator’s Conference
Effective Practice for Students with Down Syndrome: Tools for Today’s Classroom
A special session for educators working to enhance outcomes for their students with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, as well as autism. This educator-focused conference engages participants in identifying and implementing strategies applicable to classrooms from kindergarten through 12th grades. Discussions include ways to further include students in the general education classroom through effective literacy interventions, differentiated curriculum, technology, and behavioral practices.
For More Details go to Educator’s Conference
- Research & Medical Care Roundtable
RESEARCH & MEDICAL CARE ROUNDTABLE:
What parents, self-advocates & caregivers should know
Co-organized with the NDSC, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation Roundtable is a free benefit for registrants of the NDSC Annual Convention and features renowned scientists and medical professionals. More details to come regarding the 2018 Medical Roundtable.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Is childcare provided during the convention?Due to insurance provisions, the NDSC does not provide childcare during the convention.
- What should I do with my kids while I attend the convention?Kids’ Camp is available for children with Down syndrome from the ages of six months to 14 years old and their siblings ages six months to rising 3rd graders (Rising 4th graders may register for the Brothers & Sisters Conference.) There are 5 separate camp sessions offered during the convention. The cost for each session is $40 per child. There is a 10% discount for families registering multiple children.
- Are children allowed in the workshops?While it is not ideal or recommended, children are permitted into workshops. Parents who attend with their small children are asked to be respectful of the audience by keeping noise and distractions to a minimum. Also in workshops where space is limited, children must sit on their parent’s lap or on the floor to allow registered attendees a seat.
- Can relatives coming to help with child care attend the convention?Yes, if they register to attend the convention.
- Is there something planned for my self-advocate while I attend a pre-conference?The Youth and Adults Conference does not begin until Friday afternoon; however, the Friendship Club Open House is held from 9-12 on Friday. This is an opportunity for individuals with DS ages 15 and up to stop by and meet new friends. This is not a volunteer-supported event so individuals will high support needs must be accompanied by an adult.
- Can I bring my baby to the dinner?Yes. If your baby will require a highchair, seat or space at the table then you must purchase a child ticket.
- What is the dress code for the dinner?Actually, there’s not one. Some attendees will come in suits and dresses, while others prefer something a bit more casual, such as slacks for men and sun dresses for women.
- Can I bring my whole family to the dance on Friday night?All registered attendees are invited to the dance and opening reception.
- Why can't my very mature 14-year-old attend the Y&A conference?The minimum age to participate in the Y&A Conference is 15. From past experience, we have found this to be the cut off that allows the most attendees to benefit from our program.
- Why can't we register our self-advocate for the Y&A conference on-site?Registration is not accepted on-site for the Youth & Adults Conference due to the extensive planning required to support the needs of each individual attendee.
- Can I register for the Brothers and Sisters conference at the convention?No, due to space, logistics and the off-site trip, all attendees must register prior to the deadline.
- Can you make an exception for my 3rd grader to attend the B&S conference?No, the minimum grade level to attend the B&S Conference is students entering the 4th grade. From past experience, we have found this to be the cut off that allows the most attendees to benefit from our program.
- Why are the Friday pre-conference sessions not included in the general registration?There are additional costs to bring in the high level speakers for a 4 hour session. Those additional costs are not absorbed by the general registration fee; therefore, an additional charge is applied to only the individuals interested in participating.
- How can I get copies of the information presented in the pre-conference sessions?Only those registered for the pre-conference sessions are eligible to receive the handouts.
- Can I attend more than one pre-conference?No, all pre-conferences take place at the same time; therefore, you can only register for one session.
- I want to attend 2 pre-conferences. How do I decide?A description of the pre-conference sessions, as well as the biography for each presenter, is available on the NDSC website to help you decide which pre-conference is the best for you.
- Can I switch pre-conferences after I have registered?Yes, you can switch to another pre-conference session as long as it is prior to the registration deadline and there is space available. Changes are not permitted after the registration deadline or onsite.
- Are the pre-conference sessions included in the conference recordings? No. Why not? Pre-conferences require separate registration; therefore, all materials and recordings are the sole benefit of attending.
- What time should I arrive on Friday if I am not attending a pre-conference?We recommend arriving before or around noon so you will be able to register, explore the exhibit floor, and eat dinner prior to the Opening General Session. Both Y&A and B&S Conferences will begin at 1:15 pm.
- Can I buy tickets for the dinner Saturday night during the convention?No. Tickets must be purchased before the registration deadline to accommodate the dinner management deadline.
- When will I get access to the conference recordings?Conference recordings will be available to view 3 days after the convention.
- Can speakers see or evaluate my child?Families interested in professional evaluations and therapeutic services should make arrangements directly with the professional prior to or after the conference.
- How can I get CEU credits?The NDSC provides a packet of materials that you can submit to your local accrediting organization. These packets are available at the NDSC table in the registration area.
- Can we register as a group?No. Registration is set up for individuals for families living at the same address.
- Do I have to pay membership dues if I am already a member of my local DSA?Yes. The NDSC and your local affiliate are separate organizations and require separate membership dues.
- Is childcare provided during the convention?
- General Convention Resources
- 2018 Convention Brochure Convention-at-a-Glance 2018 Registration Fees 2018 Workshop Listing
Thank you to our 2018 convention sponsors!
Kids’ Camp Sponsor
321 Dance Sponsor
Advocacy Training Day Sponsor
Lone Star Sponsor
The Ashford Rise School of Dallas
Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action
Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & The Mid-South
Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota
Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas
Down Syndrome Association of South Texas
Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network
Dreamers Merchants Coffee Company
East Texas Down Syndrome Group
Green Oaks Education and Support, Inc.
Reece’s Rainbow Down Syndrome Adoption Grant Foundation
Rio Grande Valley Down Syndrome Association
Texas Christian University
TCU College of Education – Ansers Institute